For Immediate Release - September 10, 2017

Governor Baker Authorizes MEMA to Send Emergency Workers to Florida to Assist with Hurricane Irma Response & Recovery

FRAMINGHAM - Governor Charlie Baker has authorized the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to send a three-person Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team, and a nine-person nursing team to Florida to assist with response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma.  The request for assistance from Florida came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance. 

"Massachusetts is ready to provide whatever assistance we can to help Florida and neighboring states deal with the immediate and long-term impacts of Hurricane Irma,” said Governor Baker. “As these teams head to Florida, we will continue to monitor requests to support response and recovery operations."

“Like Hurricane Harvey did in Texas and Louisiana, Hurricane Irma is expected to disrupt millions of lives and cause widespread damage across Florida and neighboring states. We will look to meet and support the needs of the impacted states and their communities and residents,” said Lt. Governor Polito. 

“In recent years, MEMA has deployed staff to Georgia, Alaska, New York, Alabama and Texas to assist in the aftermath of tornadoes, flooding, and hurricanes," said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “We are continuing this tradition of support by deploying personnel to Florida. I thank the emergency management personnel who have offered to assist. This is another example of the dedication of public safety employees in the Commonwealth to help those who are impacted by a disaster.”

“EMAC is a key component of our national emergency management enterprise,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “We have used EMAC many times to bolster our disaster response and recovery operations in Massachusetts, and as we did for Texas after Hurricane Harvey, we are able to support Florida as it deals with the impacts of Hurricane Irma.”

About the Deployments

The three-person team being deployed to Florida includes one employee from MEMA and two from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The team will work in the Infrastructure Branch in Florida's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Tallahassee. The team will depart Massachusetts on Sunday, September 10th, and is expected to be deployed for approximately two weeks.

The team of eight nurses and one hospital emergency manager from the Beth Israel Deaconess hospital system will provide medical support to evacuees in shelters in Florida. This team was coordinated through MEMA, the Department of Public Health, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The team will depart Massachusetts on Monday, September 11th, and is expected to be deployed for approximately two weeks.

MEMA continues to monitor the EMAC system and look for opportunities to offer personnel, equipment and resources to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in the coming days. 

Volunteers, Donations, and Hurricane Preparedness

  • Donations - Donating cash to recognized disaster relief organizations is the best way to help people in need after a disaster. Cash donations are efficient, flexible to use, and require no transportation. Consider donating to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or other disaster relief organization that is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD): https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/
  • Volunteers – Those looking to volunteer are encouraged to get involved with an established disaster relief organization.  This ensures that volunteer efforts are coordinated and that the needs of disaster communities and survivors are met.  People are asked not to self-deploy to a disaster area.  Information on volunteering is available through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD): https://www.nvoad.org/current-disasters/werespond/
  • Hurricane Preparedness - Late August and September is the peak of New England’s hurricane season. MEMA encourages all residents to learn if they live in a Hurricane Evacuation Zone, and to make a family emergency plan, build an emergency kit, and stay informed. Hurricane preparedness resources are available on MEMA’s website: http://www.mass.gov/mema/hurricanes

About EMAC

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is an interstate mutual aid agreement among all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. EMAC enables the Governor (through State Emergency Management officials) to request disaster assistance such as personnel and equipment from other states before, during, or after a disaster. Impacted states looking for assistance broadcast resource requests through the EMAC system and other states may offer to fill the request if they have the necessary resources. The requesting state then chooses which assisting state’s offer to accept.

About MEMA

MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA's staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector - individuals, families, non-profits and businesses - MEMA ensures the Commonwealth's ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover. For additional information about MEMA and Emergency Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema.

Continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA.

Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the free Massachusetts Alerts app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.

 

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